London 2012: Michelle Obama visits Team USA at University of East London

Michelle Obama spoke about how athletes can inspire children during an event at the University of East London (UEL) today.

The First Lady met athletes from Team USA, who will train at the university’s SportsDock in the Docklands campus.

Mrs Obama, who wore a white jacket with red trim which she later took off to reveal a bright red sleeveless top, spoke about how she and her family were fans of the Games, and used to watch them when she was growing up in the south side of Chicago.

She said: “My family sat together for hours watching these men and women show feats of endurance, speed and grace that would have us cheering at the top of our lungs.

“My brother and I would dream about maybe one day, if we worked hard enough, we might be able to achieve something just as great for ourselves.

“The Olympics was particularly powerful for my family for another reason. As some of you know my father contracted MS in the prime of his life.

“My father wasn’t able to walk without the aid of crutches but he retained his love of sports. The Olympics was a special time for him to watch amazing athletes of all abilities compete on the world stage.

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“So these Games affected our little house on the south side of Chicago.”

Mrs Obama, who campaigns to get young people to lead healthier lifestyles, also told the athletes they would be inspiring people by competing.

She said: “You never know who you’re inspiring. From a family like ours to young athletes who are going to pick up a soccer ball or start running after watching something you do.

“All of you are certainly inspiring me every day.”

The First Lady, who is leading the presidential delegation to the Games, also told the athletes to enjoy themselves.

She said: “Stop, look around you. Try and have fun. Try and breathe a little, but also win, right? In the end winning is good.”